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South Africa Road Trip November 2018-Death, dying and the best sightings yet!


Towlersonsafari

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Towlersonsafari

Thank you very much     the lens was @Zim Girl it was a splendid sighting, and thank you  as well @Dave Williams the lens was mostly the panasconic leica 100-400 f4-5.6 which meant full frame 200-800. the main reason why I changed to this system was the weight-my arthritic arms and replacement elbow are not supposed to carry much more than a bag of sugar-and the lens is less than 1kg-as very much an amateur I have found it  the G9 and lens-much more fun to use than the canon7mk11. And using DXO software makes it easier for my poor brain to cope with processing! I am sure you would love the KTP and although the small wilderness camps are very tricky to get into kalahari Tentecd camp, and the new nossob riverfront chalets as well as some tme at Twee Rivieren would still be a great trip! i did have a spare battery and the charger could be hooked up to the car lighter port so that worked out well

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And the next moring, on our first drive along our favourite part of the KTP, we started as we emant to go on. Firstly this "Quiet Gentleman" And at Craig Lockhart water hole, four of these

Hello folks, We have just got back from a November trip to South Africa, with the main aims of visiting  the KTP, probably our favourite San Park, and Mountain Zebra, somewhere we have been once befor

We decidied to let the traffic day down, and then  were a bit disappointed  to find nothing at Craig Lockhart waterhole. As we slowly drove towards the next waterhole, around the corner came  

Towlersonsafari

Thanks again everyone for following along. after the lions, and the crow, we made our way across the long dune road-very hit and miss especially at approaching mid-day,

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and all but the last 12 km was in good condition-the last 12km was probably the worst roads fr corrugation we have ever driven on. after lunch at the picnic site we saw a few cars at the next waterhole and at first were very pleased to see this

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which was very strange -what was a Brown Hyena doing out in the middle of the day? It spent some time drinking and licking and on closer inspection we could see a large sore or wound on its chest and some other wounds on its jawline

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After 20-30 minutes it walked to some nearby shade and then, as it reached the shade, seemed to collapse with its back legs almost giving out. We dd not see it move and the next day, when we passed the waterhole, it had not moved. To go from seeing 2 male lions at the height of their pomp, to another animal at seemingly the end of its life was very moving

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Towlersonsafari

The new Nossob river front chalets are well worth the money.not because of the facilities, which are good, or that they are very clean, but because they look out on the nossob riverbed and as we were in number 16, we could also see the waterhole through binoculars.in fact we could see the waterhole from our bed ! (i think no 11 is very close to the waterhole) it has also been moved slightly i think and the hide seems to have a much better view.

Normally the only ever animals we see at this waterhole are jackals. We assume that as soon as we enter the park they all get together and organise a rota  telling any other critter not to bother, they will do all the shifts. but we did have more luck this time, with an  African cuckoo and as i popped in without my camera whilst waiting to collect some bread we had ordered, my first ever Broad billed roller.how I wish I had taken the camera as looking it up in my guide back at the chalet revealed it was not supposed to be there! Our chalet was also on the route of a crimson breasted shrike. bitter experience has taught me never even to try to photograph these, but ths one kept tempting me with fine views -until of course i picked up the camera

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Towlersonsafari

The next day we decided to head North towards the Ljersdrai picnic sight and things were a little quieter-where were our cats? i think to explore that end of the park properly, at leisure you need to be staying at Grootkolk as to Unions end and back from Nossob is an all day trip .None the less we were entertained by whistling rats

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and watching one in particular dragging food back to his or her den was great fun, as was this rather impertinent agama

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there was no need for that.

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Towlersonsafari

the grass was very patchy

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We did see a lot of vultures at the waterhole nearest Nossob 

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But no cats! We had booked a sunset drive and the guide Johannus was very interesting, showing us a puff adder, thick tailed scorpion, and, a new species for us, Tree Rat. We did also see a lioness and three cubs, from a long way away, and 16 jackals at a waterhole!

i tried to be arty again

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the lioness was apparently part of the very loose Nossob pride, of about 25 individuals, but scattered from about Kwang down to Marie se draai. We think we may have  saw her again the next day, as we drove south, again at the Marie loop

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Enjoying your report, l think you do need to go on another safari so you can improve your arty photography, its a good excuse.

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Towlersonsafari

Thanks. sadly I suspect all the safaris in the world will not improve my photos   @CDL111 but its a good excuse!

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Towlersonsafari

No trip report to the KTP is complete without a Pale chanting Goshawk so here is mine

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and some red billed quelea's

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at te picnic site Jne manged to find these staring down at our lunch, disgusted as it was vegetarian

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And this is we thing a young White Faced Owl

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Towlersonsafari

the afternoon saw us take a slow drive to Kwang where we had arranged to meet up with some more lions, just in case we had not seen enough. 2 males and 4 females, including a mating pair that choose the middle of the road inspite of the traffic between them and the camp-including us-and the lateness of the hour .We contented oursleves with the others

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One male was as embarrassed as we were at so public a display of affection

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Towlersonsafari

The mating pair wre now causing quite a hold up and some folk became anxious

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We did wonder about the wisdom of trying to push pass a testosterone fueled male lion and indeed it objected in no uncertain manner.! eventually he relented and about 5-6 cars all had the same excuse for being late!

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Towlersonsafari

We did a night drive with the charming Ivan-we were the only 2 booked and he confessed he was so worried that we would not ask any questions-the four ladies the night before had said nothing all night-that he tried to persuade his wife to come along! He need not have worried of curse.We saw Brown Hyena, eland,  and 2 more male lions, moving slowly and gingerly, having been ,kicked out the pride. We satyed with them for some time.Ivan thought they were at least 11, and you could see the weariness on their faces, and the thinning of their back legs, just as our own moggies get.At least they had each other we rather sentimentally thought! Ivan confessed that through his days working on the recovery of ions that were molesting cattle outside the park, where they had to be darted and moved far away on the botswana side, and where he had to stay with them until the anesthetic wore off, they were his favourite.

he also recounted a tale of being on just such a mission with a student, both trying to stay awake, with the lion close by, and the student nodding off and falling across him-he jumped a mile!  We caught up with the lions the next morning

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their future was not bright

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offshorebirder

I am late returning to this trip report @Towlersonsafari - impressive photos.  Especially the galloping Gemsbok.

 

How fortunate you were to see a Brown Hyena - I am sorry it was in poor condition.  Must have been a bittersweet sighting.

 

 

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Oh to see a driver with his window down and arm sticking out. I presume that had the lion ripped his arm off it would have had to be put down? Both the wife and l are well impressed with the photograph of the embarrassed lion.

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Towlersonsafari

Thanks @offshorebirder and yes it was sad indeed. And thanks @CDL111 I don't suppose it occurred to the driver.I would have been worried about the embarrassment if anything had happened!

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13 hours ago, Hads said:

Thanks for a beautiful TR @Towlersonsafari.

I love the owl pics in post 33.

 

+1 on that owl and those male lions were some fine specimen. Having always wanted to see a brown hyena it would have been such a disappointment to see that poor guy.

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Peter Connan

Lovely report so far!

 

I am no expert, but I wonder if the last owl is not a juvenile Verraux's Eagle Owl?

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Towlersonsafari

Thank you @Peter Connan i know what you mean about the owl but it was in exactly the same place as the other (2) white faced owls-and looked the same size so we assumed it was the young-having never seen a young white faced owl before! thanks also @dlo  the hyena and just sitting with the old lions at night were very moving experiences for us, and thank you @Hads for your kind comments.

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Towlersonsafari

The move from Nossob to KillieKrankie via Twee rivieren to make a phone call was also an entertaining one.We really did like the new Nossob chalets, and we were looking forward to a new camp for us, Killiekrankie. We passed 2 cheetah's lying under a bush a long way away and a sleeping lion, as well as Tawney eagles eating a bird of some kind, after paying our respects to the old lions again and passed herds of wildebeest and springbok and spent some time with gemsbok  then under a tree, the fattest lion cubs we have ever seen!

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Towlersonsafari

There were 4 cubs and 2 females sleeping it off

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until they took exception to a Sanparks tractor convoy 

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and wandered further from the road

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Towlersonsafari

We then came across what they had been eating

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and as we were taliking to the receptionist when we left the park, and mentioned this, her reaction was  "Oh so they finally killed it (the gemsbok) did they?"  apparently one or both of  the adults had, in the attack, broken both of the gemsboks front legs-presumably accidentally-and than sat back for the cubs to play and practice.that would have been a very hard watch indeed!

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Towlersonsafari

Killiekrankie gave us 2 of our best sightings of the trip.whilst it is not apparently a place for great game viewing, and the waterhole is best seen through binoculars, the views are splendid and it made a very splendid end to our stay in the ever wonderful KTP. Our efforts were aimed, in the last 2 full days at trying to find a leopard, with no success, but that evening, watching the waterhole form our veranda, seeing a , Giant Eagle owl and steenbok a caracal appeared! We watched it for about 30 minutes, amidst hushed cries from our neighbours as they too picked it up. It then seemed to disappear behind the back wall of the waterhole and 2 steenbok reappeared-we all held our breath-and the caracal made an attempt but just missed! only our third caracal and what a splendid sighting.

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in this next shot you can see where the waterhole is in relation to the accommodation

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Towlersonsafari

the next moring , was a surprise indeed, as i started to load the car i saw our neighbours cameras out  and went over to investigate-the resident wildcat( i had no idea there was a resident wildcat-and William had not mentioned it)  had three kittens-and the early mornng light was  playtime! Apologies for cute kitten overload.Jane managed to take some video with her travel camera, as the kittens  almost ran over her feet.The temtation to put them in our luggage was difficult to resist!

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this was the car parking area

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Towlersonsafari

I'll stop now-after these-

mum keeping an eye on things-against the wall of chalet no 2

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